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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Sep. 3, 2015 5 years ago

Crowd-funding boosts signal of Ocoee man’s phone invention

by: Catherine Kerr


OCOEE — With the help of a new tech idea from Ocoee problem-solver Dennis Bard, it finally could be possible to eliminate dropped calls. 

That goal is literal: With the Mag Hook, users don’t have to hold their phones while they are on the go, which lessens the likelihood of phones being dropped or lost, while allowing users to stay hands-free but always have easy access to their devices.

Bard and his wife, Robin, have been Rollerblading on the West Orange Trail just about every weekend since the 1990s.

Robin has an iPhone 6 Plus, which is one of the biggest smartphones currently on the market. Although she generally likes the large screen, it was difficult for her to hold  the phone while blading on the trail.

Her options were an armband or fanny pack — neither of which were comfortable or desirable to her. So she started asking her husband to carry her phone in his hand or pocket.

“I’m blading, and I’m holding the phone, and I’m going, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’” Dennis Bard said.

Bard, who has an 18-year background in manufacturing but has never invented his own product before, decided to come up with a solution to fill this need. He thought of the concept for the Mag Hook.

The Mag Hook, which Bard hopes to eventually sell for about $40, consists of three parts: a clip, a magnetic band and a smartphone case with a magnetic component. The clip fastens the magnetic band to the waistband of a user’s pants or shorts, and then the smartphone can stick to the magnetic band outside of the user’s shirt. 

“You can jog with it; it’s not coming off,” Bard said. “What everybody wants but doesn’t have is, they want the phone to be right at their fingertips. …You don’t even feel this on.”

Bard already has consulted a patent attorney and created a few Mag Hook prototypes that he and Robin have been using on the West Orange Trail and in their daily lives. He is now working full-time to raise awareness and recruit investors so that the product concept can become a reality in the marketplace. 

The first Mag Hooks will come with cases that fit the latest iPhone models. The Mag Hook for Samsung, LG and other phones could be available eventually, but Bard wants to start simple to limit costs. 

Bard doesn’t consider himself an inventor but simply a problem-solver.

“He’s very organized,” Robin Bard said. “Around the house, too — he’s always fixing and making things better.”

“It went beyond just a personal solution for Robin and (me) on the trail, to something a lot more,” Dennis Bard said. “I think it is a compelling answer to something that frustrates people.”


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